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Blackthorn :: Sloe :: Birth Day Flower - May 8th :: Prunus spinosa

Updated on July 18, 2011

May 8th Birth Day Flower

Your birth day flower is the Blackthorn, according to the Victorians, if you were born on the 8th May.

The Blackthorn is associated with "Difficulty", perhaps because when you try to get through a thicket of this stuff you can get into all kinds of difficulty! Hey, the Victorian's were a strange bunch, how do I know what they were thinking when they came up with this.

The Blackthorn is a member of the Rosaceae Family - Prunus spinosa .

It is commonly called Sloe and the word sloe, as in sloe-eyed, is derived from the name of the also named fruit, to mean a blackish hue.

Sloes ripen in the autumn and are seen to be ripe when the skin colour changes from a furry black to a polished black - although ripe does not mean immediately edible. At any point they are very sour and require processing to make them palatable.

Ode to Difficulty

The brightest gems in heaven that glow,

Shine out from midmost sky ;

The whitest pearls of the sea below,

In its lowestcaverns lie.

He must stretch afar, who would reach a star,

Dive deep for the pearl. I trow ;

And the fairest rose thatin Scotland blows,

Hangs high on the topmost bough.


Blackthorn, Sloe - Prunus spinosa

A native (to the UK) dwarfish, deciduous tree which grows profusely and abundantly in hedgerows and on waste ground. It colonises these areas rapidly due to its many suckers and forms inpenetrable thickets. It has a myriad of vicious black thorns from which it derives it's name (clever that!)

The black, thorny twigs are covered in small, oval winter buds. The leaves are small, tender green when opening. They later become longer and much darker in colour.

In April an abundance of small star-shaped white blossoms appear. This is a sure sign that winter is just about over. After a few weeks the floor is covered in the petals forming a blanket of confetti for the marriage of spring and summer.

In autumn the small bullace-like plum fruit begins to appear. First as a very hard stony berry with slightly blackish, green 'velvety-downed' waxy skin. They are called sloes. They mature through blackish-green to greeny-black when the fruit is very hard with a large stone. Gradually the ripening process continues until an almost solid black colour is reached.

It is time to raid the hedgerows! Although the sloes are very bitter to the taste (astringent) and cause you to squeeze your cheeks in if a tasting is chanced, they are edible. They are the source of sloe jelly and they can be utilised to make sloe gin.

The bark of the blackthorn is black. The sapwood is pale yellow. The heart-wood is dark brown and tough. The blackthorn is really no more than a large bush and the wood is too slight to be used for timber. However it has proved to have a use in the manufacture of walking sticks, knobbly ones. Traditionally, the wood was used to make the Irish Shillelagh - it's hardness being of particular use!

May 8th - Major Events

On your birth day the following major events occurred:

  • 1429 - Joan of Arc rescues Orleans
  • 1541 - Hernando de Soto discovers Mississippi River
  • 1794 - U.S. Post Office established
  • 1861 - Richmond, Virginia named as the capital of the U.S. Confederacy
  • 1863 - Estados Unidos de Colombia established
  • 1895 - China cedes Taiwan to Japan in Treaty of Shimonoseki
  • 1902 - Mount Pelee erupts and wipes out 30,000 people in St. Pierre, Martinique
  • 1921 - Sweden abolishes capital punishment
  • 1945 - V-E Day: Germany signs unconditional surrender ending WWII in Europe
  • 1967 - Muhammad Ali indicted for refusing induction into U. S. Army
  • 1980 - WHO announces Smallpox eradicated
  • 1989 - space shuttle STS-30 lands

Birthday's on May 8th

You share your birth day with:

  • 1846 - Oscar Hammerstein
  • 1884 - Harry S. Trueman
  • 1913 - Sid James
  • 1926 - David Attenborough
  • 1932 - Sonny Liston
  • 1935 - Jackie Charlton
  • 1942 - Norman Lamont
  • 1975 - Enrique Iglesias

--- Remarks, Observations and/or Criticisms are Welcomed ---

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